Web hosting refers to services which allow you to put up a site on the world wide web, taking care of such issues as server space and usually providing a suite of software which makes it easy for you to handle the administrative tasks of putting your site together. In the past, creating a web site required a certain level of technical knowledge, as you would have to set up your own physical hardware and connect it somehow, or else you would use a variety of different programs to connect to the web server through its different aspects. Today, the entire process of setting up a web site is mostly automated with the vast majority of web hosting services ( read our guide on building a website for more info ) - all that you need in do in most cases is connect to the main web site of the hosting service and fill out a variety of forms, then you can control your web page through an online control panel which is accessible through your web browser. You can even install off the shelf software packages from various task with the fantastico web hosting software.

With the entire process of setting up and administrating a web site now working through the web browser, you can put together a high quality web site without leaving your chair - all that you need is internet access and you can put together a site which uses all of the most popular and highly compatible kinds of internet technology. Software such as cpanel, Mysql, PHP and Ruby on Rails are generally included with web hosting packages today - cpanel provides you with the web interface to control your email accounts, ftp accounts and all of the files on your server. Mysql gives you the ability to set up a professional quality database with whatever kind of information that you want on your web server. PHP gives you the ability to take that data and present it to the visitors to your web site - Ruby on Rails makes the entire web site display process faster and more streamlined - this combination of software is used in so many web installations that most professionals in setting up web sites only have to know the basics of these programs.

Typical prices for web hosting range from less than ten dollars for a lot of personal sites, to the level of hundreds of dollars a month in the case of dedicated hosting for a business site. Usually when you buy a web hosting package which costs less than ten dollars there is some kind of arrangement where you are using shared server space - while you may have access to the server using cpanel in such a manner that it appears that you are the only user, the physical reality of the situation is that a shared computer server is holding your data and supplying it to people who visit your web site, as well as doing the same for a lot of other users. Still, you can get a decent level of service this way and your site will not need any higher level of web hosting unless it begins to receive tens of thousands of visitors on a regular basis.